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Brits can now join their American and Canadian pals across the pond in renting movies on YouTube
Online video streaming service YouTube has made a name for providing access to short clips that exist in the public domain. However, this year it has added a pay service to show copyrighted material and even original programming on its site, making a bid to compete with companies like Netflix and iTunes. Now, the Brits can rent movies through YouTube with the launch of youtube.com/movies in the U.K.
Bad news? As of yet, only 1,000 titles are available for rental in the U.K. Good news? These titles include new releases like Fast Five, Hanna, and Red Riding Hood, as well as older favorites like The Dark Knight, Reservoir Dogs, and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. New releases will run Brit rental cutomers £3.49, while older titles will run £2.49, with a £3.49 HD option.
"Over time we'll also be adding additional videos and features to YouTube Movie Extras so that you can get even more into movies on YouTube," said YouTube Business Product Manager Matteo Vallone in today's blog post.
YouTube owner Google has reportedly slated $100 million for acquiring original programming for youtube.com/movies, with plans to create up to 10 hours a week of original material, shown on as many as 20 "channels."
YouTube has had brand expansion on its mind for a while now, having acquired online video production company New Next Now last May. Neither YouTube nor Google has disclosed what was paid in the deal, though one insider told The Hollywood Reporter that New Next Now came at a (cryptically phrased) price tag of "south of $50 millon."
Last April, two studio executives told The New York Times on condition of anonymity that Warner Bros. was planning on aligning with YouTube. That deal has now come to fruition, along with expected partners News Corp.'s ShineReveille, FreemantleMedia Ltd. which produces 'The X-Factor,' BermanBruan which produces shows for SyFy, and Electus the producer of V-H1's 'Mob Wives.'
Hold-outs include Walt Disney Studios, which does business with both Apple and Hulu, and of course Viacom, who in June lost a much-publicized lawsuit with YouTube owners Google Inc. over copyright infringement.
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